Friday, July 31, 2009

CC 2009: WB Panel

Over the past few years there are two movie studios that have distinguished themselves above all others; Paramount and Warner Brothers. They seem to be the only two big studios willing to take risks and really give filmmakers the freedom to bring their artistic visions to the big screen. This has paid off huge dividends for them as this mindset has allowed some of the most wildly successful franchises of the last decade to emerge amidst the pap that most other studios have put out. One would think the other studios would catch on since every year Warner Brothers and Paramount rake in AT LEAST over a billion dollars in revenue, but I guess some people just don’t like making money. This years massive Warner Brothers presentation at Comic-Con proved that they have not intention of slowing down and that everyone else better keep up or get left in the dust. What follows are some hopefully short thoughts on what I saw.

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: I’ve loved Spike Jonze since day one and I knew he was going to do a bang up job on this film, but even I couldn’t anticipate what I think is shaping up to be easily one of the best movies of the year. No joke, based on what I’ve seen so far I am almost completely convinced that this film will get nominated for Best Picture, it looks THAT good! Jonze appears to have made a children’s film for the ages one that taps into the difficult mindset and emotions inherent in growing up, one that will speak to the youngest of souls and the oldest. There’s no doubt in my mind this will be one of the greats and I can’t wait until I get to see the whole thing.

THE BOOK OF ELI: It’s a sign of just how massive and prestigious Comic-Con has become when Denzel Washington shows up for a panel. It’s also refreshing to see that he seems to be one of those guys that is just as nice in person as he is on screen and even though he’s an Academy Award winner he genuinely seemed to be having a blast. It was also VERY cool to finally get unexpected geek god Gary Oldman at Con. As for the movie, the Hughes Brothers have always shown quite a bit of promise even if they’re movies haven’t always fully clicked. This looks like it may very well be the film that puts them on the map. This post-apocalyptic thriller looks, moody, atmospheric and like lots of fun. It was kind of hard to suss out the story based on what they showed but it looked like it could be something of biblical proportions (If the title weren’t already a dead giveaway) and Denzel looks to be playing the biggest badass of his career. I’m really looking forward to this one.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET: Out of all the pointless horror remakes to come down the pike this one easily looks like it has the most potential. First of all no matter how much you love the original Freddy Kruger film it is REALLY dated and VERY 80’s. Secondly if anyone had to replace Robert Englund I can’t think of a better psycho to dawn the fedora and claws than Jackie Earle Haley. The footage they showed looked REALLY good and it looks like they put lots of thought and care into this one. It also looks like they’re trying to steer the franchise back towards the scary, nightmarish Freddy not the horror clown he became in later films. I genuinely want to see this one.

THE BOX: Richard Kelly is one of the most unique and original voices to appear in the world of cinema in quite some time. Even though Cameron Diaz sort of inadvertently spilled the beans on what might be the major twist of the film THE BOX looks like a great psychological mind-screw. Kelly has assembled some very talented (And often times under utilized actors) to tell what looks to be a VERY interesting tale. Even with possibly the big spoiler cat out of the bag I still don’t quite know what to expect from this film but I’m fairly certain I’ll like it a lot. This one could very well be a sleeper hit waiting to explode. I’m hoping so because Kelly really deserves it.

JONAH HEX: A Spaghetti Western comic book movie with a slightly supernatural bent. That’s what this is being billed as and based on the pretty spectacular footage they showed that’s exactly what it looks like. Josh Brolin (Who was AWESOME in person) plays the titular character of this cult DC comic. Megan Fox (Who really is that beautiful) plays his eye candy and John Malcovich looks to be the big bad. It’s a very fine line the filmmakers look to be walking but based on what they showed they look to have pulled it off and this could very well be lots of fun. As a lover of the Western genre I’m really rooting for this one. The last time anyone took a crack at a big budget, tent-pole Western it was Warner Brothers with the deplorable WILD WILD WEST. This film looks NOTHING like that waste of celluloid so here’s hoping the second time is the charm.

SHERLOCK HOLMES: The three things that really blew me away at Con this year, that made me hoot and holler and cheer like a madman were AVATAR, IRON MAN 2 and this. I love Guy Ritchie to death and after the few stumbles he took after LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELLS and SNATCH he looks to be ready to explode into the mainstream consciousness with SHERLOCK HOLMES a film that I simply can’t imagine won’t wind up on my Best Of list at the end of the year. This film looks like an absolute blast, there is NOTHING I have seen that makes me believe this won’t be one of the most entertaining and flat out fun films of the year. The chemistry between Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Rachel McAdams seems spot on and perfect. The action is unlike anything ever seen in a Holmes film before and based on what I’ve seen this film seems to truly understand the most famous detective in the history of fiction in a way that no other film really has. They showed a scene in which Holmes is bare-knuckle boxing a gigantic lout twice his size. As he sizes up his opponent we hear him mentally deconstruct just how exactly how he’s going to physically destroy the guy. It’s a PERFECT scene and one of many I’m sure. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of the panel however was stoking my love of Robert Downey Jr. even further. He’s one of those guys that is EVERYTHING you expect based on what you’ve seen of him on screen, he’s funny, charming, the life of the party and he had the crowd eating out of his hand. You could tell he was more than aware that geekdom is largely responsible for the career high he’s on right now and he showed his appreciation ten-fold.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Holmes kind of reminds me of The Last Crusade, Lethal Weapon, or Die Hard with a Vegence in terms of its comedy. Hope I'm right about that.